Downloading Is Not on the D/L

This semester, infringement notices about illegal downloading of copyrighted material have been sent to Colgate students by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) at a rate of 6-10 per week.

Three weeks ago, Chief Information Technology Officer David Gregory sent an email to the student body warning them about the risks of illegal downloading. The email was sent in response to a growing number of lawsuits against

academic institutions.

Last year, the (RIAA) filed hundreds of “John Doe” lawsuits against universities, including Colgate. Subsequently, a Colgate student was sued by the RIAA.

In a John Doe lawsuit, once the RIAA has discovered illegal trafficking, the University is required by law to identify the student involved. After that point, Colgate is no longer involved in the situation. Typically, the lawsuits are settled out of court for $10,000-12,000, though penalties can be even steeper.

The MPAA has also filed lawsuits, demanding penalties of $30,000 or more per download.

Students caught illegally downloading material must remove the software from their computer and appear before the Disciplinary Board, which may suspend the student of his or her computing privileges.

Although many students have received infringement notices, a lawsuit has been filed against one unnamed student.

Although illegal trafficking slowed slightly after last year’s lawsuit, it has returned to the same levels as last year at the time of the lawsuit.

“Students don’t really grasp the problem,” Gregory said. “There has been just as much illegal trafficking this year as the last. However, students are at great risk when they don’t use legal downloading options; they are inviting a lawsuit to happen, which can be very hurtful.”

Gregory encourages students to look for legal ways to download the

music or movies they want.

“It is just like going into a store and stealing a CD,” Gregory said. “Make no mistake that one can get in serious trouble illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted files,” Gregory said. “It is not worth the risk of legal and/or disciplinary action that could ruin your college career.”